User Research, usability testing, wireframing, storyboarding, user flow and journey mapping, prototyping.
The Care industry in the UK is broken. There is a general public consensus that there is little trust, it is overpriced and a maze of confusion. Which? works to help the public by empowering them to stand up their rights. One of their free services includes Later Life Care which offers free advice, guidance and support for older people in need of Care as well as carers themselves.
Our research uncovered that dealing with cost of Care, both in the home and at a care home is one of the most confusing and difficult tasks carers face. There’s the act of actually trying to find out how much it costs, then there’s trying to find out what support you might be able to get from the government and if there is any; how to apply and if not; how to pay for it. We wanted to give our users a quick way to help them uncover some of these questions.We created a tool to make it easier to discover what Care costs in the UK, based on specific needs, circumstances and location. The initial idea was to help the primary audience of the Which? Later Life Care website to figure out what a care home might cost but the tool turned into much more than that - providing our users with a way to find out what financial support they may be eligible for, where their local authority is and how that maps to average costs.
I created a series of user journey options:
Together with team, we begun drawing out some different ideas of how the tool might work, how a user might flow through the different stages, how they would return to and update their answers and what would be on the results screen.
Looking at how a user might come to the cost of care tool, how they move through it and first steps out and onto other pages. A large part of the work was to conclude which would be the most important next steps for users to take. We did this through card sorting exercises with users.
I begun wireframing the different layout ideas, taking a mobile first approach and working collaboratively with the team comprised of the user researcher, visual designers, the product manager, content managers, business analysts and other stakeholders. We went into iterative, qualitative user testing with two slightly different, clickable mobile prototypes. By the last day, the prototype had been tweaked to just one, taking into account the insights that came out of the user testing. We were able to validate our assumptions in the last day of testing and took this into development.
We found from the user testing that people did not pay attention to the numbering of the questions, that the tool itself was very quick to work through (and "easy to use") and the questions were clear and obvious. We wanted to show people useful information as early on as possible in the tool, so upon selecting their care type from residential care home, nursing home and home care and entering their location users are shown an average cost figure. If they own their own home, two further questions relating to their house are asked, otherwise the tool asks for an above or below threshold of assets to evaluate their eligibility for funding from their local authority.
The questions themselves were hugely simplified from the initial idea which asked users to enter precise figures of their assets and home, which not only made it longer for people to see an answer but also made us question if people would feel comfortable entering all that information. Instead, we decided to flip the question to ask where their assets sit on the threshold for funding.
I put together a flow diagram to illustrate how a user would go through the tool, depending on the answers they selected to share with the development team and business analysts.
Desktop variation of the tool
View the live Cost of care calculator on Which? Later Life Care